Thursday, August 21, 2008

what i'm reading

This is a list of the books that are now or have recently been on my nightstand. And dresser, and couch, and floor. I keep it more-or-less updated, and it's be accessible from that handy tab up top. I'm always looking for new reads, and I'd love to hear books you're into.

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Relin
I resisted reading this for a long time, thinking it was cheezy inspiration fiction.  Turns out it's actually cheezy inspiration NON-fiction, and absolutely wonderful.

The Fire, by Katherine Neville
I adore The Eight.  But this-- this is unreadable Da Vinci Code knock-off drivel.  No offense.

Good Poems for Hard Times, collected by Garrison Keillor
This great collection of poems, from classic to modern, has gotten me reading poetry again.

The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey
A lovely read about revisiting Richard III.  I always forget what a good writer Tey is until I pick her up again.

The Murders of Richard III, by Elizabeth Peters
Fun fluff.

Bakewise, by Shirley Corriher
This is more than just a cookbook, y'all.  It is genius INSIGHT into the SOUL of cooking.

Collected Poems, by John Donne
Holy cow, how have I never been obsessed with him before!  Well, I'm making up for lost time now.

Sonnets, by Petrarch
I originally picked this up because of his muse's name; I keep coming back to them because of the lovely lovely language.

Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett

Maskerade, by Terry Pratchett
Phantom of the Opera spoof. What's not to love?

Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, by Karen Armstrong
A fascinating read by a fascinating author.

Jerusalem: The Eternal City, by Galbraith, Ogden, and Skinner
I've had this for a while, but I think this time I may finally get through it.  It's a great historical, religious, linguistic, sociological, and political overview of the city.  Pretty high-level, but hits all the main points.

The Life of Christ, by Frederic Farrar
Wonderful.  Think Talmage but better.

Vicious Circle, by Mike Carey
Fun hardboiled gothic fluff.

The Likeness, by Tana French
Loved it as much as the first one.

In the Woods, by Tana French
Creepity psychological thriller. Just ordered the second one.

Waiter Rant, by The Waiter
Turns out the blog's better.

, by Terry Pratchett
This is a very different Pratchett book than the other 37 of his I've read. Firstly, it's for young adults (but when has that ever stopped me); secondly, it's SERIOUS. There's still cleverness and wit and lovely lovely names--Biggleswick the Butler, Ermintrude Fanshaw (the Honorable Miss)--but the main themes are religion, colonialism, scientific inquiry, and, oh yes, death.

The Devil You Know, by Mike Carey
Recommended to the world by Robin McKinley (read her review here), and well worth the read. It's half ghost story, half hardboiled detective story, and full on compelling. Also, full of naughty words, so preview it before gifting it to Great Aunt Dotty Sue.

To Say Nothing of the Dog
, by Connie Willis
A much-loved favorite. Especially laugh-out-loud for readers of Jerome K. Jerome and Dorothy Sayers.

Teaching Multilevel Classes in ESL
, by Jill Sinclair Bell
Doing some much-needed reading up on how to do my job. This book is very sensible, but kind of overwhelming. The amount of prep time it assumes is approximately insane.

Men at Arms
, by Terry Pratchett
Corporal Carrot is one of my favorite characters ever written. Angua is so not good enough for him.

The War Within
, by Bob Woodward

Laughter of Dead Kings
, by Elizabeth Peters
Meh. There's probably no way to top Night Train to Memphis, but this seemed so half-hearted.

, by Robin McKinley
A delight. I can't wait to read it again. [Liked it even more on second reading.]

Dreams of Trespass
, by Fatima Mernissi.
I'd forgotten how great this fictional Moroccan memoir is. It's moving and good-tempered and really, really interesting.

Wit, by Margaret Edson.
A lovely play. The movie (with Emma Thompson!) is also great, although it made me a wee bit verklempt.

Organ Registration in Theory and Practice, by Harold Greer
Great. And holy cow technical.

Abigail Adams: A Biography, by Phyllis Lee Levin

Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
Yay, a Pratchett I hadn't read! And this one, about theology and Greek philosophers, is a great one.

And Only to Decieve, by Tasha Alexander
Fun and fluffy.

C. S. Lewis, by A. N. Wilson

Dragonhaven, by Robin McKinley
Much better the second time around, though still not up to her usual magic.

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith
Whenever I start reading this, I get amazed at how wonderful it is. And then when the ending rolls around I'm always disappointed.

Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

Martha Washington: An American Life, by Patricia Brody
Pretty light, but I've never known much about Martha Washington, and it's interesting enough to just learn the facts. If anyone knows a heartier Martha biography, I'd love to hear about it.

Outlaws of Sherwood, by Robin McKinley
Possibly my favorite book of all time, despite the bleakness.

The Fifth Elephant, by Terry Pratchett
Can't get enough Pratchett. It breaks my greedy heart that he's got Alzheimer's.

Lords and Ladies, by Terry Pratchett

Breaking Dawn, by Stephenie Meyer

Dreams of Trespass, by Fatima Mernissi

Sunshine, by Robin McKinley
This is a vampire book about a baker who makes Cinnamon Rolls As Big As Your Head and Meringuemanias and all sorts of brilliantly-named goodies; her superlatively ordinary world crosses with some nasty, dark Others, and the creepy fun begins. ("I never heard them coming. Of course, you don't, when they're vampires." Delicious!) I should warn you that this book is firmly in PG-13 territory; if you're like me --and yes, I am turning into my mother-- you'll want to read with a white-out pen for the naughty bits. There aren't many of them, but they are zingers.

Till We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis
Also in the top three all time favorite books. I've read this a billion times, but the redemption always gives me chivers.

The Four Loves, by C. S. Lewis

Going Postal, by Terry Pratchett

Tolstoy, by A. N. Wilson
Awesome biography--Tolstoy was seriously odd.

Water, by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson

Thrones, Dominations, by Dorothy Sayers and Jill Paton Walsh

Bunch of thrillers, by Patricia Cornwell
Liked these at first, but then I started intensely disliking the main character, and the series is ruined for me.

The Alvin Maker series, by Orson Scott Card
As usual with Card, the first three books are the best.

Edith Wharton, by Hermione Lee

Mind of the Maker, by Dorothy Sayers

Time to Be in Earnest, by P. D. James
One of the most enjoyable autobiographies I've ever read. It's fragmented and almost neurotically reserved, but by the end I felt like I was looking out from the inside of James' head. Really lovely.

Taste for Death, by P. D. James

Death at Black Dudley, by Margery Allingham
I wished I liked Allingham more. I mean, she's ok, but she's no Sayers. Sigh.

Blindness, by Jose Saramago
Holy schinkies, this was awesomely bleak. And waaaay too rough for me to ever read it again (I still have nightmares), but I'm glad I did the first time.

Short Stories, by Leo Tolstoy

Searching for Jane Austen, by Emily Auerbach
Felt like taking a seminar on Feminism and Jane Austen. Really really great.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
I love the detail, and all the fabulous footnotes. I hope she writes more.

1 comment:

  1. I CANNOT believe how well read you are! Amazing. If I could get to a fraction of the books you do. Is it too much to ask you to forward me a monthly list of the best of the best list? I'd love to read them all but being not nearly as prolific I'll have to rely on the gold medal works.